Monday, January 6, 2014

Two Movies I Loved in 2013 and One I Hated

I hardly saw any movies last year – there just wasn’t much that grabbed me, and I think television has well and truly surpassed movies for quality viewing these days. I’m sick of sassy Disney princesses and fed up to the back teeth with superheroes, and I couldn’t care less about Sandra Bullock floating around in space. There were a couple I really enjoyed and highly recommend, though. 

The Kings of Summer has a very misleading trailer. You think you’re getting some whacky comedy about a group of kids with overbearing parents played by (among others) by Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally. While it’s true that it’s about a group of kids, and it is funny, and the kids do have overbearing parents, Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally are in the movie for maybe 5 minutes each.

The story itself is a pretty standard coming of age one – these are the best years of your life, chicks are awesome but then they ruin everything, your family isn’t really as bad as you think they are, yada, yada. What sets it a cut above is the charm of the three boys. Gabriel Basso in particular has been one of my favourite young actors since that scene in the first season of The Big C where he finds the storage locker with all of Cathy’s future presents for him. The Kings of Summer is lovely, funny and touching and worth watching - especially with a teenage girl because they just get so into those kind of movies and it’s rather sweet. 

The Way Way Back is another coming of age film, written by Jim Rash and Nat Faxon, and very loosely based on some of Jim Rash’s experiences growing up. A teenage boy spends the summer at the beach house of his mother’s new boyfriend – Steve Carell playing very much against type. The boy stumbles into a job at a water park run by Sam Rockwell and staffed by a group of easygoing weirdos. Again, this is a standard storyline about finding somewhere to belong, finding your way through the stumbling blocks, choosing your own path and so on. It’s more overtly funny than The Kings of Summer – Jim Rash and Nat Faxon are both pretty hilarious people. But there’s still enough gooey heartwarming stuff going on to make you feel all ‘Awwwwww’ by the end. I really loved this movie – it’s the best I’ve seen for a really long time. 

Now to the film I hated – The Lifeguard. I used to really dislike Kristen Bell, then a couple of years ago Lily and I watched Veronica Mars and I decided I loved her. I might be back to disliking her again after this mess. She plays an unhappy 29 year old who leaves her job and her married lover and moves back to her home town, with parents who are not overly thrilled to have her on their door step. She takes a job as a lifeguard at the local pool and strikes up a relationship with the 16 year old son of the pool manager. That in itself is problematic – there is such an ew factor there. It got worse, though. I don’t want to spoil it in case anyone wants to watch it (though I suggest you don’t bother), but Martin Starr’s character does something so completely disgusting and it’s just kind of written off as a bad judgement call that everyone moves on from pretty quickly. It was horrifying. Aside from that, the movie went nowhere – there were loads of interminably long scenes of Kristen Bell just staring out at nothing looking sad. She was insufferable, her friends were insufferable – it was not really any surprise her mother didn’t want her there. And of course it was Indie 101 – scene of people driving with music playing and someone sticking their head out the window to feel the air, scene of someone staring vacantly into a pool while thinking about how they were drowning within their own lives, scene of unhappy people sitting awkwardly and silently around a dinner table barely speaking, night time scene of a group of people getting drunk and revealing OMG SECRETS, and on and on and on like that. This movie just checked all the boxes and then called it a day. For many years my most hated all time movie has been Independence Day (don’t ask). The Lifeguard has replaced it. I cannot express in words how much I really, really hated this movie. 


  1. I love sassy Disney princess. And superheroes. I can't help it.

    My favourite movie of last year was The Trouble With the Curve. Absolutely loved it, which was quite unexpected - I know or care sweet FA about baseball. Clint Eastwood is a baseball scout and Amy Adams is his daughter, plus Justin Timberlake is in it and actually very good.

    Pain and Gain absolutely the worst.

    1. I've never even heard of that movie - I'm so out of the loop.

      Pain and Gain just looks terrible - I don't think I'll be bothering with that one at all.

  2. The Lifeguard must be worse than BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAD!

    I think the only things I saw at the cinema were superhero related - pretty sure I saw Iron Man 3 last year; and I saw the Doctor Who thing. I don't think I saw anything else at all.

    1. I think it's been several years since I was last in a cinema. I can't even remember the last time!

  3. Well, now I NEED to know what happens with Martin Starr in the Lifeguard! Tried to google the plotline to save myself from having to watch the movie but can't find it haha.